Canada to drop negative PCR tests for quick cross-border trips

·2 min read

Weekend shopping trips to the United States just got a lot more affordable.

The federal government will be lifting the PCR test requirement for fully vaccinated travellers returning to Canada after short trips. The government announced it is dropping the negative PCR test requirement for Canadians returning from the U.S. for any trip less than 72 hours.

The policy change will cover both citizens and permanent residents. The new rules will come into effect on November 30.

This means as soon as this re-entry requirement comes into effect, travellers who are coming back into the country within 72 hours of their departure will no longer need to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test. Any trips longer than 72 hours outside of Canada will still need a negative PCR test upon return.

Also, on November 30, Canada will expand the list of approved vaccines that travellers outside of North America can have to be considered fully vaccinated in Canada. This list will match the one provided by the World Health Organization.

The United States reopened its land border to Canadians who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 on November 8. However, regardless of vaccination status, all travellers entering Canada have been required to present proof of a molecular COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of crossing the land border or boarding a flight.

These tests can cost anywhere between $150 to $300. Antigen tests, which generally only cost $40 to $60, are not accepted for entry in Canada. The tests can also take up to 48 hours to deliver results and are far less readily available internationally than rapid antigen tests.

According to Perrin Beatty, president and CEO of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, the current PCR test requirement is an “absurdity” and needs to be dropped.

“It’s time for us to apply common sense. Pull the PCR test. It is redundant,” said Beatty. “We’re the outlier, and other countries don’t use it.”

According to Beatty, the focus needs to be on whether or not we’re vaccinated, not on taking expensive tests.

“Anything that reduces the level of requirement here is good, so it’s a step forward,” Beatty said.

Bird Bouchard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Ridgetown Independent News

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